The Importance of Dinacharya (Daily Routine)
Dinacharya, the Ayurvedic concept of daily routine, holds paramount importance in maintaining holistic well-being. It serves as a guiding principle for aligning personal habits with the natural rhythms of the day, promoting balance and harmony in both body and mind. From rising with the sun to mindful meal practices, Dinacharya establishes a structured routine that fosters optimal digestion, enhances mental clarity, and supports overall vitality. Embracing Dinacharya is not merely a routine; it's a transformative practice that aligns individuals with the innate wisdom of their bodies and the circadian rhythms of nature.
Here we have for you the quintessential Ayurvedic morning routine, laid out in order of optimal sequence. Each ritual in its own right has a profoundly positive effect on the mind, body and spirit, however in combination their results are even more potent.
How to use this guide:
We recommend using this as a guide, an introduction - don't try and do this all in one day! Start small, choosing one or two things and remain consistent with these for a time before building on it. Ayurveda is a life-long love affair; it's best to approach it in a light-hearted, gentle and patient way. Your morning routine should feel grounding, nourishing, life-supporting - never like a burden. Start your journey with what resonates with you the most first.
1. Rise and Shine: Rise before sunrise, syncing with nature's rhythm to ignite your day with vitality and heightened focus. This ancient practice enhances mental clarity, aligning your energy with the serene beginning of each dawn. In Ayurveda, the optimal time to wake up is during Brahma Muhurta, which is roughly 1.5 hours before sunrise. This period, considered auspicious in Vedic tradition, aligns with the transition from night to day and is believed to be infused with heightened spiritual energy.
Waking up at this type helps with balancing the Vata dosha, associated with morning's movement and activity, by harnessing the calm qualities of this time. Early rising is believed to enhance mental clarity and productivity, providing a tranquil period for self-care practices and meditation. Aligning with the sun's cycle supports circadian rhythms and hormonal balance, contributing to a holistic and harmonious lifestyle.
2. Tongue Scraping (Jihwa Prakshalana): Ideally within the first few minutes of waking up, Ayurveda recommends tongue scraping, a simple yet powerful practice to promote oral health, assist detoxification, stimulate digestion and overall balance.
Overnight, the body accumulates toxins on the tongue, known as Ama in Ayurveda. Scraping the tongue eliminates this coating, preventing reabsorption of toxins and promoting overall detoxification. Bacteria, dead cells, and food debris accumulate on the tongue, leading to bad breath. Tongue scraping effectively removes these elements, promoting oral hygiene and fresher breath.
As an added bonus, specific parts of the tongue are connected to specific doshas, as well as energy channels and organs. Stimulating the tongue in this way in the morning
How to do tongue scraping:
Gently glide an Ayurvedic tongue scraper (made from either copper or gold) from back to front, eliminating toxins and bacteria that accumulate overnight, up to seven times.
3. Oil Pulling (Gandusha/Kavala): This detoxifying practice not only supports oral health but extends its benefits to the entire body. Oil pulling helps in reducing harmful bacteria, plaque, and toxins in the mouth, promoting improved oral hygiene. It can contribute to fresher breath, healthier gums, and reduced risk of dental issues. The mouth is considered a gateway to the body, and oil pulling is believed to pull toxins from the oral cavity. By swishing oil in the mouth, toxins are trapped and removed, preventing their reabsorption into the system.
How to do oil pulling:
Swish sesame or coconut oil in your mouth for 5-10 minutes after tongue scraping.
4. Nasal Oil (Nasya): Nasya, or nasal cleansing, involves applying herbal oil in your nostrils to clear sinuses and support respiratory health. Nasya oil is considered effective in clearing accumulated impurities, toxins, and excess mucus from the nasal passages. This detoxification process contributes to improved respiratory and overall health. Ayurveda views the nose as the gateway to the brain, and Nasya oil is thought to nourish and protect the delicate tissues in the nasal passages. This, in turn, is believed to support cognitive function and overall nervous system health, as well as deeply hydrate the brain and whole system for optimal hydration and functioning.
How to do Nasya:
Using a medicated herbal oil from your Ayurvedic practitioner, put a drop on your finger, sniffing it up each nostril. This can be done several times per day, before pranayama or as needed.
5. Hydrate with Warm Water: Kickstart your metabolism, aid digestion and detoxification, and deeply hydrate the system by starting your day with a glass of hot water. Sipping on hot water aids digestion by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes and promotes gentle detoxification, cleansing the digestive organs and supporting overall well-being.The warmth of hot water has a calming effect on the nervous system, encourages circulation, and may aid in weight management. Additionally, it contributes to improved skin health, relieves joint pain, and creates a foundation for overall vitality. Incorporating this simple yet effective habit aligns with Ayurvedic principles, fostering holistic well-being.
6. Self-Massage (Abhyanga): Indulge in self-massage (Abhyanga) with warm sesame or coconut oil before showering. Self-abhyanga helps balance the doshas, relax the muscles, nourish the skin, and promote overall well-being. The warmth of the oil soothes the nervous system, reducing stress and enhancing relaxation. It improves blood circulation, supports lymphatic drainage, and aids in the removal of toxins. Self-abhyanga is believed to enhance sleep quality, boost immunity, and contribute to emotional balance. Regular practice fosters a sense of self-care and connection with one's body, through loving touch. It's really the ultimate self-love ritual!
How to do self-abhyanga oil massage:
Using either a medicated oil from your Ayurvedic practitioner, coconut oil (best for those who run hot), or sesame oil (best for winter or those who run cool), cover the body in oil. Proceed to follow a series of strokes from head to toe, using gentle pressure. Leave on for at least 8 minutes, and then take a shower. Download our free PDF guide here to learn the series and sequence of strokes to perform self-abhyanga. Once you've practiced it a couple of times, it becomes easy and second nature.
7. Yoga (Surya Namaskar): Yoga asanas provide profound benefits for the mind, body and spirit. These physical postures enhance flexibility, strength, and circulation while balancing the doshas.Yoga supports digestion, detoxification, and overall well-being by generating internal heat and fostering a balanced flow of vital energy (Prana).
Surya Namaskar, otherwise known as Sun Salutations, is a popular morning yoga sequence that aligns with greeting the sun. In addition to the spiritual benefits of aligning with the sun, 'Surya' and nature's rhythms, the Surya Namaskar sequence promotes strength, flexibility and fitness by working all the major muscle groups, and massages the organs for detoxification and overall health. Surya Namaskar also helps to stoke 'Agni' your digestive fire, and ignite your inner metaphorical fire(s).
How to do Surya Namaskar:
8. Ayurvedic Herbs (Rasayana)
Ayurvedic Rasayanas, known as rejuvenative toncis, offer a plethora of benefits for overall health. These therapies aim to enhance vitality, balance doshas, improve digestion, strengthen immunity, and slow down the aging process. With adaptogenic properties, Rasayanas contribute to stress reduction and mental resilience, while supporting cognitive function. Additionally, these therapies aid in detoxification, promote healthy skin, and nourish the body's tissues.
The Rasayana we highly recommend is called Bliss. Bliss is a potent adaptogenic nervous system tonic which promotes longevity and overall health, as well as calm and balance in the mind body and spirit. Its primary function is to pacify and strengthen the nervous system. Bliss is a favourite among many for the blissful state of being in the mind, body and spirit that it helps cultivate. It is made from 17 incredible Ayurvedic herbs that promote overall balance, nervous system support and cognitive function, including Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Liquorice Root, Indian Sacred Lotus and many more.
How to have Bliss:
Mix 1/2 teaspoon or 1 sachet of Bliss, 1-2 times per day or as needed, in any hot drink (hot water, hot milk, herbal tea, chai, cacao etc.). Bliss can also be taken in any stressful situation to bring immediate calm to your mind and body. Bliss can be added to coffee to help mitigate its hyperstimulating effects, or taken before meditation to enhance Bliss chemistry, open the energy channels and enliven unity. It's important to have Bliss with heat as this acts as a vehicle for its assimilation.
To learn more about Bliss, check out some in-depth information on the formula, benefits and ingredients.
9. Meditation: Dedicate 20 minutes to your meditation practice twice per day for optimal benefits for the mind, body and spirit, to pacify the nervous system and expand consciousness. Ayurveda is a consciousness-based holistic health system, and there is a hierarchy to the system: consciousness impacts the mind, and the mind impacts the body, thereby producing a 'print-out' of one's consciousness state in the body. This is why focusing on our state of consciousness through a regular Sadhana, or spiritual practice is the gateway to rapid transformation for all layers of wellbeing.
Vedic Meditation, as viewed through the lens of Ayurveda, offers a host of benefits for holistic well-being. This practice is known to reduce stress and anxiety, promoting a deep state of restful awareness. By calming the nervous system, Vedic Meditation helps balance the doshas, fostering overall mind-body harmony. Improved cognitive function, enhanced creativity, and increased energy levels are among the mental and emotional advantages associated with regular practice.
Additionally, this form of meditation is believed to support better sleep, strengthen the immune system, and contribute to optimal physiological functioning. With its personalized approach, Vedic Meditation aligns with Ayurvedic principles, offering a natural and sustainable path to improved health and inner balance.
How to practice Vedic meditation:
Vedic meditation, otherwise known as Transcendental meditation, requires instruction from a properly trained initiator, and must be learned in person. However, once you learn this simple, powerful and effective technique, you will be fully self-sufficient in your practice for life.
We recommend searching online for a Vedic meditation teacher in your area. Feel free to email our customer service team at firstname.lastname@example.org for a recommendation or referral.
10. Nourishing Breakfast: Conclude your Ayurvedic morning routine with a nourishing breakfast, opting for warm food, and eating aligned with Ayurvedic principles of nutrition. Fuel your body, stabilize blood sugar levels, and set the stage for sustained energy and improved digestion throughout the day. Ayurveda recommends a relatively light breakfast, reserving lunch for the main meal of the day when digestive fire is strongest. On occasion and where appropriate, sometimes fasting until lunchtime is prescribed for certain constitutions.
Your guide to breakfast:
We recommend this guide to the Ayurvedic principles of Nutrition, and/or consulting an Ayurvedic practitioner for a personalised nutrition programme.